Reasons why Burke was fired.
The guess here is Burke was fired for one of two reasons.
One, at least half of the new MLSE ownership team, Bell, was seemingly prepared to fire Burke during the summer. The boss there, George Cope, reportedly disliked Burke’s management style and brash public comments, and thought he was “bad for the brand.”
Two, both Bell and Rogers are keen on a deal for Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo and Burke was resisting such a move. He said repeatedly of late that he was “90 per cent” certain he wanted to go with the combination of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens in net and had talked several times about his frustrations of dealing with Vancouver GM Mike Gillis, particularly since he wasn’t sure dealing for Luongo was the right move.
Clearly, it wasn’t anything Burke had done lately because the lockout had prevented all NHL general managers from making any moves since Sept. 15th.
Only a strong season with a playoff berth was going to save Burke anyway, particularly with the folks at Bell not on side. It’s not clear how supportive the executives at Rogers, the other half of the MLSE alliance, were of Burke.
Just as Nonis succeeded Burke in Vancouver in 2004, he now takes over a young Leaf team with substantial assets in terms of prospects and developing talent and few long-term contractual obligations, essential under the terms of the new NHL-NHLPA collective bargaining agreement.